Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Namiyoke Inari Shrine in Tsukiji

 Across from the food hall in Tsukiji is a rather small sized shrine. Namiyoke Inari Jinja. 

 It's the place where the local businesses pray for good fortune, with some of them donating lanterns to light besides the main torii.

Even though it was raining I decided to check it out. While the grounds were not small, it was clear there was a lot here. 

The Haiden where prayers are made to the enshrined kami. Inari Myojin is one that is worshiped here. 

The shrine area goes back to the Manji era (around 1660) when people were trying to reclaim the land here from the bay. While doing that, waves were a problem. So the people floated an image of Inari Myojin on the sea there and from that point on there the land reclamation went well.

The name of the shrine means "protection from the waves".

I could have used a little protection from the falling water. I guess my luck with little rain my two prior March trips finally wore off. 

There are many carved stones and more here. I couldn't begin to say what all they represent. 

I can tell you that the Seven Lucky Gods are also here. 

 I can also tell you that there is a pillar for each animal of the Japanese Zodiac. I believe this one is for sheep. As for the marbles, I do not know. It's some kind of offering.

 There is one for monkey.

Horse along with more carved stones. 

Snake and dragon sit next to each other. 

Rabbit had a newer metal plaque along side. These may be in relation to local trade groups.

Tiger had to put up with a crowd of Inari foxes. That's a really small shrine. 

 Another look at the tiger.

 Bull and rat were towards the back.

 Finally boar, dog and rooster.

There is another remarkable thing about this shrine. 

 Next to those buckets were these giant lion heads. There use to be more but they were destroyed in earthquakes and fires. This is the female lion head and it weighs about 1,500 pounds or .7 metric ton.

This is the male lion head and it weighs 2,200 pounds or one metric ton. Why does that matter? Because every three years one of the lion heads is carried in their Tsukiji Shishi Matsuri parade along with a mikoshi portable shrine. The other two years only the mikoshi is carried. 

So that is a look at the Namiyoke Inari Shrine in Tsukiji. Popular with the businesses there. My next post will be a little smaller, about a place so large it's impossible to ignore it.

Monday, April 23, 2018

To Tsukiji or not to Tsukiji

A few years back, I went to Tsukiji. Unfortunately my timing was bad that trip because there had been a few extremely large earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear power plant melt-downs. Which even shut down the most venerable fish market in the world. So knowing that the market part would be moving in the near future, I decided that even though it was raining, I would go and at least take a few photos.

I didn't really have a plan, just get there and walk around and see what there was to see. Which turned out to be more of this sort of thing than not. 

I'm not sure if it's because they are closing down some of this that it looked a bit worn and degraded, or if it's the fact that above all, this area is a business where people sell seafood and that is it.

And it's obvious that is done here. I didn't have a hard time figuring out what direction to go when I exited the subway station. The smell and the sight of seagulls made it obvious. 

Along with it being early afternoon, I wasn't surprised a lot of places were done for the day. I do think the rain helped a little with the clean-up.  

Even though most of the sellers were done, small restaurants were busy serving lunch. Although I was surprised at a pizza place being here.

But really, there are a lot of different things sold in the shops and restaurants around Tsukiji. Traditional Japanese sweets were one. 

And curry. Although the curry with crab looked tempting, I really wanted to eat something more in tune with the place. 

 I looked around a bit more at the market.

But that grey sky wasn't being kind. 

However this food hall did look intriguing.  I believe it is called Tsukiji Fish Coast Haifu Bridge Building, 築地魚河岸 海幸橋棟.

And it was intriging. Different vendors with all kinds of seafood and more. It made me wish I had a place with a big fridge and a way to cook because there were a lot of things I would buy.

Instead I decided to get a few things to eat there. Like these really nice scallops. 

Which they cut up for sashimi for me. Along with maguro sashimi, grilled eel and tamagoyaki. Which I ended up eating under an umbrella in the rain. On the roof. Since there was no other place there to sit and eat. Even the rain did not ruin how delicious this all was. So fresh. These were the best scallops I have ever eaten. 

Once done I decided to look around some more. Besides checking out a couple temples, which I will post next, I visited what appeared to be the Tsukiji shopping streets.

Even with the rain it was a neat area to see. The older buildings made it feel like it was a movie set. 

With some of the smallest restaurants I have seen.

A number of the streets were a proverbial sea of umbrellas. It is a fact, when it rains in Tokyo, there will be umbrellas everywhere. 

  Even with less umbrellas it's still a busy place.

So much so that I decided to stick to the main street. I checked out a few of the shops, like this dried fruit vendor. 

So many different types of food were sold in the many shops and restaurants. And of course there were seafood stores too. 

Sadly I was not able to get anything fresh since I was headed to another place after Tsukiji. But I did end up getting a pack of dried orange slices. Which were very good! 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Night Time Views of Tokyo Tower and Zōjō-ji

One of the nice things about Japan is most places are fairly safe to walk about at night. And something I like to do is walk at night. Even when there is a little rain.

Since I was staying in the area near Shibadaimon and Shibakoen, I went to check out the Daimon gate. The repairs happening last year were complete and it was nice to see the whole gate again.

Also nice to see Tokyo Tower and Sangedatsumon, the main gate for Zojo-ji, main temple in the area and for the Tokugawa family back in Edo times.

I was reminded of the time after the Great Tohoku Earthquake when I spent time here at night. Difference is the lovely glow from the lit-up Tokyo Tower. 

The rain soaked stones reflected back the light of Tokyo Tower. 

I walked up to the great main hall, Daiden and walk around the wrap around walk-way. Tokyo Tower is on a hill just beyond Zojo-ji.

The overcast sky added a little eeriness to the view. 

I walked through the grounds, remembering my walks here in the past. The four Great Bosatsu of Compassion and Mercy took on a difference feeling in the dark.

Soon views of Tokyo Tower would be blocked by sakura blossoms and leaves. But this night the sakura was just starting to bloom. 

However the camellias were beautifully in full bloom.